Me and my big mouth
By Lisa Smartt
Posted: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 8:01 pm
I have a little problem. I have a big mouth. Sometimes I use my big mouth for good, like when I say encouraging things to people who need encouragement. Sometimes I use my big mouth for evil, like when I say discouraging things to my children because they can’t remember to brush their teeth. Then there are the times I use my big mouth for sheer stupidity. That’s today’s column.
Recently I decided to make a family declaration. It would save our family money, produce discipline and appreciation and teach us valuable planning skills. I should have given more thought to the declaration before it came spewing from my mouth. But that’s one of the downfalls of having a big mouth. People with big mouths tend to spew before they think.
“OK, guys, from now on, we’re only going to the grocery store on Thursday. If it’s not Thursday, we aren’t buying groceries. If we run out of something, just add it to the list and know that it can be purchased on Thursday.”
My plan worked brilliantly. It took some getting used to, but the children eventually climbed on board. “Mom, we’re out of cereal.” “Well, Sweetheart, it’s just Monday, so we’ll just have to eat oatmeal until when?” “Yeah, we know, Mom. Thursday.”
Even Dad learned the drill.
“Honey, we’re out of light bulbs for the bathroom.” “Well, let’s see. Today’s Tuesday, so we can have light again on Thursday. Just write light bulbs on the list, OK?”
All great plans are tested. All great leaders are eventually called upon to stand their ground. But I wasn’t prepared for that fateful Tuesday morning. No one was. As I poured the last few coffee beans into the coffee grinder, a feeling of desperation ran through my lifeless body. To add insult to injury, the hairspray bottle was dispensing air. My lifeless body got the shakes as my lifeless hair hung over my eyes. Rationalization began. Cereal and darkness are one thing. Caffeine deprivation and stringy hair are quite another. I began to scour the house like an addict. What about those little hotel coffee samples we piled in the kitchen cabinet? Plastic containers came flying out of the cabinets as I searched wildly like a shopaholic looking for a credit card on Black Friday. But no. We had thrown all the coffee samples out when we cleaned out the kitchen cabinets. (Cleanliness and organization are so over-rated.) That’s when I started digging through the suitcases. Hope was eventually lost and I carefully planned my speech. I mean, if one of us were ill and needed medication, we’d still pick up the medication ... even on a Tuesday, right? Of course we would.
“Boys, we’ve got to run by the store real quick on the way home.”
“But Mom, isn’t today just Tuesday?” (Note: How is it that boys who cannot remember to brush their teeth can SO easily remember the day of the week?)
“Well, um, yes, I believe it is Tuesday. But a little need has arisen.”
“What’s the need?”
“We need coffee and hairspray.”
“But Mom, when we needed glue, we made paste out of flour and water. When we needed light bulbs, we used a flashlight. When we needed milk, we added water to powdered coffee creamer.”
Silence filled the car.
“Boys, I was thinkin’ we might grab coffee, hairspray and a few boxes of Cocoa Puffs. We’ll call today ‘Tuesday Treat Day.’ It will be special for us all!“
The moral to the story? When your big mouth starts to spew a great idea, stop and think.
It’s Saturday and I feel like buying a gallon of milk. I know. I’m a rebel.
Editor’s note: Lisa Smartt’s column appears each Wednesday in the Friends and Neighbors section of The Messenger. Mrs. Smartt is the wife of Philip Smartt, the University of Tennessee at Martin parks and recreation and forestry professor, and is mother to two boys, Stephen and Jonathan. She is a freelance writer and speaker. Her book “The Smartt View: Life, Love, and Cluttered Closets” is available at The Messenger, The University of Tennessee at Martin bookstore or by mail for $10, plus $2 shipping. Send checks to Lisa Smartt, 300 Parrott Road, Dresden TN 38225. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 3.11.09